A dog with tummy issues is no joke. We are so used to our wonderful four-legged (or three!) beauties running around that when they aren’t feeling their best; it is a very sad sight.
While many of us only stick to the foods that we know are suitable for dogs – while others get a haphazard diet of scraps and other treats they shouldn’t have.
But even dogs on a completely balanced diet can run into digestive problems.
How can you spot digestive issues in dogs?
Just like in humans, there are some signs that you can look for that will indicate your dog is having some problems with their stomach.
- Loose stools
- Problems with pooping
- No appetite or eating less food
- A lot of gas
- Eating grass
- Gaining or losing weight
You might also find that they are acting out of character – this could be due to pain or being uncomfortable.
No matter how old your dog is or what breed, their diet is the foundation of good health.
And even the highest quality food isn’t going to be right for every dog – some foods are made with more high-energy ingredients, which are better for working dogs, and foods for large breeds might have extra fish oils and supplements.
Generally, it is recommended to choose chicken dog food for better digestion.
There are also a large number of ingredients that look great, but too many of them can cause irritation or be low quality.
It is a good idea to look at what ingredients have high bioavailability for your dog – meaning that they will get the most from the food.
The most common digestive issues in dogs
Just like humans, sometimes a loose stool is nothing to worry about.
Dogs are well known for eating things they should and drinking dirty puddle water. In fact, some dogs enjoy nothing more than eating poop.
Their digestive systems are hardy, but even the most efficient machine can go wrong from time to time.
The most common digestive issues in dogs are worth all owners understanding and learning the signs – so you know when you should be taking action or when they just need a cuddle and some rest.
Perhaps your dog has had the same food for years, and suddenly, they seem to be off their food and struggling with it.
You can often tell when a dog has an allergy because their skin is one of the biggest indicators.
Their coats might look dull, and their skin may become flaky.
The dog’s immune system is attacking the body, which in turn causes an explosion of symptoms.
What makes dog food allergies tricky is that they can be difficult to pin down and find the exact ingredient.
How to help dog food allergies
Trial and error unless the allergy is so severe that the dog can’t function without medicine and veterinary help.
A limited diet that sticks to things like poultry and the addition of probiotics, prebiotics, and a digestive enzyme can help.
Unless your dog is cool as a cucumber, you might find your four-legged friends have high-stress levels.
Your dog has mental health, and when they are sad, lonely, or perhaps they have extreme attachment problems, it can come out in the body.
How to help dogs with stress
It can be almost impossible to remove all sources of stress for your dog.
It can be a good idea to head to a dog behaviorist so that they can help you to find coping methods with your dog.
Along with that, speaking to your vet can mean you use a bulking agent in the food to help slow the speed at which your dog is digesting.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, some people play fast and loose with what they give their dogs.
For example, grapes, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, and processed meats. These aren’t usually great for people in high quantities – but for a dog, they can be lethal.
Toxic ingestion differs from a bad diet because it involves consuming a toxic substance – one of the most common is antifreeze.
Because of the sweet smell, dogs have been known to lick it up.
There are also plants that many people have in their homes that can kill their pets if they are ingested.
Toxic ingestion is usually noticeable pretty quickly because of some with loose stools, drooling or dry mouth, extreme lapping up of water, tremors, high heart rate, and more.
How to treat toxic ingestions
First off, prevention is always better than cure. Check all of the plants in your home, and start putting child locks on cupboards that house chemicals.
Once your dog has ingested something they should – it is a race against time.
You will need to take the dog to the vet immediately.
If you can find the chemical, plant, or product your dog has ingested, take it with you.
Ahead of leaving to go to the vet, call them and ask if there is any immediate action you can take at home to help give you time to get them to the vet.
As a dog grows, it will build natural immunity, but if you have recently adopted a puppy or younger dog, their bodies are still working on this. Younger dogs are more susceptible to digestive diseases.
Digestive diseases cause infection and inflammation of the intestinal tract and are one of the most common and highly treatable.
If any changes or signs of gastrointestinal distress like gas, vomiting, and diarrhea – call your vet.
How to help your dog with digestive diseases
Almost all vets will recommend that your dog takes probiotics to help with the digestive tract and support the good gut bacteria that your dog needs.
Having these good bacteria will aid your dog’s system in breaking down anything harmful.
You and your vet will work on getting the right balance of good bacteria in the dog’s system – and over time, the symptoms will become less severe.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this is something you will need to keep an eye on for the duration of your dog’s life.
There are some digestive diseases that are chronic and will require medication and regular checkups to manage, though.
Your vet will be able to plan a full care plan once something has been diagnosed.
Eating something bad
Unsurprisingly those who have a dog that is known for eating a lot of junk – because dogs are nothing and are not nosey.
Eating something bad is known as dietary indiscretion, and it just means they are eating something like leftovers, toys, paper, and so on.
You might also hear it called garbage gut.
Garbage gut might also just refer to a dog who has eaten dog food that hasn’t agreed with them.
Dietary indiscretion varies from mild (almost unnoticeable) to severe and may include very loose stools, vomiting, and general upset.
How to help a dog who has eaten something bad
Prevention is better than cure – so take steps to make sure that trash is put away, lids are on food waste bins, and toys are tidied up.
When walking your dog, try to pay extra attention to what is in front of them.
Once your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t have, the vet will try to expel the item from their system through vomiting and a laxative.
In some cases, it is faster and easier for the dog if the item is surgically removed.
A dog’s digestion and those common issues can make for being uncomfortable for days.
In most cases, it will not be harmful – but seeking veterinary advice is a must.